The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women and Member of Parliament for Peterborough–Kawartha, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; and Jeff Leal, Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough, have announced funding for the Peterborough-Toronto Freight Rail Analysis project.
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $65,000 towards this project, which will build on
economic and engineering work already completed. The Government of Ontario is also providing up to $65,000 towards this project.
The project will define freight infrastructure requirements and outline the projected economic impact of potential future freight rail improvements along the Peterborough-Toronto-Havelock-Blue Mountain rail corridor. Specifically, the project will evaluate the benefits and impacts associated with enabling increased freight rail capacity along the corridor.
The Chamber has long been a proponent of rejuvenating this rail line for freight and passenger use, to
encourage continued economic growth in the Peterborough region.
Peterborough is an innovative place to do business and be in business. This is evident by the continued growth of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Innovation Cluster, partnerships between businesses, as well as the City, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, and Trent University joining forces to build out Cleantech Commons at Trent University.
The Peterborough Chamber recognizes the vital importance of a business’s ability to innovate and along with Chamber Member Prima IP and the support of our Policy Committee and Board of Directors, we developed a policy resolution called Driving Innovation in Canada. The resolution was voted on and passed by delegates at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick earlier this year.
The resolution has four components that would help encourage more business innovation in Canada.
The resolution is designed to fit well as the federal government embarks on an “intellectual property strategy”. The recommendations are about encouraging more investment in innovation and the development of a Canada-wide “My First Patent” program to encourage more patents in Canada. Quebec funds such a program that allows Quebec SMEs with 250 or fewer employees that are able to demonstrate research and development efforts completed or in part, to apply for a non- repayable contribution of up to 50% of eligible expenses, to a maximum of $25,000 for a patent application project, industrial design registration or integrated circuit topography.
What is the “innovation box” approach?
The innovation box approach, while a tax advantage, supports business investment in research and helps bridge the commercialization gap. This approach would also encourage companies to locate
intellectual property activity and the new high-value jobs associated with the development, manufacture
and exploitation of innovation inside Canada. If properly designed, it would promote and enhance the innovation capacity of sectors that leverage science and technology innovations throughout Canada. Firms in all sectors across Canada will have a greater incentive to adopt, commercialize or otherwise exploit the output of the R&D process here in Canada.
The idea is that an innovation box would allow companies to “tick” a box on their tax form that indicates that the revenues are being derived from patents and innovation investment. Now, there is no
suggestion of a free for all, as how the types of profits that qualify for the lower tax rate, and how acquired intellectual property is treated, differ significantly among countries and provinces. Additionally, the “patent box” rate varies considerably among nations and provinces. Some countries put caps on the total tax relief companies can receive from patent boxes. In the case of Saskatchewan, the provincial government has installed time limits on the number of years of tax relief that can be attached to a patent.
The Chamber is asking that the federal government consider these options. We know that Canada
currently sits 6th in the world for innovation quality and 16th in innovation overall in the Global IP Rankings. Encouraging new innovations to be commercialized and current businesses to consider commercializing their innovations are keys to pushing Canada up in the rankings.
Read the full policy resolution
Earlier this month (December 2017) the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) hosted a roundtable event examining the issue of our aging population and what it will mean for our communities and businesses.
It’s a timely discussion given the recent approval of the City and County of Peterborough’s Age Friendly Plan, the continued success of the Chamber’s Seniors Showcase Trade Show in June and the continued efforts of the Peterborough Council on Aging.
Ashley Challinor is the Director of Policy for the OCC and provided us with this overview of the very interesting and thought-provoking discussion.
“The Ministry of Finance presented some fascinating statistics during the session which indicated that Ontario is not only facing slower population growth in the future, but slower growth of the working age population. Currently, immigration represents 78 percent of population growth but given that immigrants tend to settle in urban areas, it means smaller communities are facing a unique challenge related to aging. Overall, the number of seniors in the province is set to double by 2014, which means we have to plan and act now.
One of the themes of the roundtable, laid out by the Minister and echoed by many at the table, was that we need to stop discussing the aging population as exclusively a challenge and exclusively a cost driver. The perception of a growing senior population is currently that of a problem that needs to be solved, rather than an opportunity to be tapped. Similarly, the discussion of seniors needs to broaden beyond health and long-term care needs.
Research conducted by the Ministry of Seniors Affairs indicates that older Ontarians want to continue to give back and continue to be of service after they retire and as they age. This can manifest itself in many ways – volunteering, mentoring, training, seniors caring for other seniors, etc. Not only could we do a better job of encouraging this kind of service, but we could also do a better job of measuring its economic impact.
Another theme that emerged related to the changing nature of work, and how seniors may be able to take advantage of the sharing economy and non-traditional work arrangements. Similarly, seniors tend to be experienced in the kinds of skills that will be in-demand in an automated future: management, critical thinking, negotiation and mediation, caregiving, strategy and planning, communication, and many more.
However, the changing nature of work also means that older business owners may struggle with
succession plans if their children – or any younger persons – are not interested in taking over the business, jeopardizing what they have worked to build and potentially interfering with their retirement plans. Broadly, this is part of the larger discussion of the decoupling of economic growth from the size of the labour force, how future growth will be generated, and who will pay for the needs of an older population that is largely not participating in paid work.
Some questions for consideration:
How can smaller communities survive and thrive as the average age of their residents rises? How can they encourage younger people and immigrants to move to their communities - and with them, new businesses? How can they naturally transition their communities to ones that support seniors, i.e. through initiatives like NORCs (naturally occurring retirement communities)?
Seniors today fear outliving the pension model, but are also interested in working beyond 65 and continuing to contribute well into their later years. How can policy-makers square that circle, linking seniors’ income security and their need for a sense of purpose?
We tend to speak about seniors as a monolith, but the experiences of someone aged 65 differ wildly from someone who is 85. How can we bring nuance to the discussion of older adults, and ensure that younger seniors are not put “on the shelf” prematurely?
While we do not want to only think of an aging population as a cost driver in the health care system, the sustainability of that system and its evolution toward one that can effectively manage chronic disease and long-term care is critical to navigating demographic change. How do we re-orient the system around patient outcomes and measure savings across hospitals, LHINs, and even Ministries to ensure that the government can manage these new demands?
In 2018, the OCC will tackle three major policy projects: on the untapped potential of Ontario’s health and life sciences sector; on building a transportation network for the future; and on managing growth through strategic urbanization and housing policy. All three of these projects intersect with seniors’ issues, and an aging population will have to be considered as we grow the health sector, build new transit options, and design livable communities."
The Peterborough Chamber is extremely interested in being a part of this discussion and policy work and would love to hear from our members and partner organizations to move the conversation forward.
We also look forward to participating in a city and county-wide program to certify local businesses as age-friendly based on certain criteria.